how to say it in English

JACEK1

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Hello all users!

Suppose you try to do something which requires your full attention. As is the case under such circumstances, the more effort you put into doing an activity, the higher the risk that you effort is doomed to failure.

For example, my wife and I had our flat redecorated a few years ago. Our settee was just a few cenimetres away. All we had to do was move it as close to the wall as possible. And that's where the problems started. We tried to move it very carefully and as a result, we ended up hitting the wall.

What do the Englishmen and Englishwomen usually say in such condtions?

Oops or Long live awkwardness or Long live clumsiness or my all fingers are thumbs?

Thank you.
 

emsr2d2

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Hello all users!

Suppose you try to do something which requires your full attention. As is the case under such circumstances, the more effort you put into doing an activity, the higher the risk that your effort is doomed to failure.

For example, my wife and I had our flat redecorated a few years ago. Our settee was just a few centimetres away (from what?). All we had to do was move it as close to the wall as possible. And that's where the problems started. We tried to move it very carefully and as a result, we ended up hitting the wall.

What do the English[STRIKE]men and Englishwomen[/STRIKE] usually say in such [STRIKE]conditions[/STRIKE] a situation?

"Oops", [STRIKE]or[/STRIKE] "Long live awkwardness", [STRIKE]or[/STRIKE] "Long live clumsiness" or "My all fingers are thumbs"?

Thank you.

I wouldn't use any of your suggestions. Apart from "Oops", they're all unnatural and not used. The last could be "I'm all fingers and thumbs" but that doesn't fit this situation.

The best suggestion I have for something that goes wrong like that is "It's Sod's law" - "It's Sod's law that I only had to move the settee a few centimetres yet I still managed to mess it up and hit it against the wall!"
Basically, Sod's law is the theory that if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. I know that doesn't quite fit your context but I'm not really aware of a theory that says the more you have to concentrate on something, the higher your chance of failure.
 

JACEK1

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The other name for it is Murphy's law, isn't it?
 

JACEK1

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How about saying "My efforts backfired on me" or "My efforts backfired on my attempts".
 

emsr2d2

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The other name for it is Murphy's law, isn't it?

Yes, it is.

How about saying "My efforts backfired on me" or "My efforts backfired on my attempts"?

Those don't sound natural to me. You might get away with "My attempt(s) backfired".
 

emsr2d2

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No, it's not natural. I just corrected the uncapitalised first letter in post 2 and in my comments suggested "I'm all fingers and thumbs" which is the BrE version.
 

YAMATO2201

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"I'm all fingers and thumbs" which is the BrE version.
Thanks.

Does "My fingers are all thumbs." sound natural to you?
 

emsr2d2

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Not to me but that's possibly because "I'm all fingers and thumbs" is a set idiom in BrE.
 

Skrej

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In that exact situation I'd probably say something like "Oops, too much" or "Nuts, that was to far".

That particular situation wouldn't irk me enough to invoke profanity, because it's reversible. If for example I cut too much off a board, or filed away too much metal, leading to wasted material, then I'd be inclined to preface any of the above with a mild expletive.

However, I can't think of any set expression just for the situation you describe. Utterances would vary from person to person.

There is a related expression of 'overthinking something', which refers to coming up with overly complicated solutions to relatively simple problems, but that doesn't really work in this situation.
 
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